LUDWIG MEIDNER (1884-1966) Porträt des Malers Konrad Felixmüller (Executed in Berlin in August 1915)

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Lot 12AR
LUDWIG MEIDNER
(1884-1966)
Porträt des Malers Konrad Felixmüller

Sold for £ 28,812 (US$ 36,495) inc. premium
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE LATE GUSTAV DELBANCO
LUDWIG MEIDNER (1884-1966)
Porträt des Malers Konrad Felixmüller
signed and dated 'L Meidner Aug. 1915' (lower right); signed, inscribed and dated 'Maler Konrad Felixmüller aus Dresden 1915 L. Meidner Berlin' (verso)
pencil on paper
51 x 42.7cm (20 1/16 x 16 13/16in).
Executed in Berlin in August 1915

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Helene Bernhofer Collection, Recklinghausen, no. 109.
    Roland, Browse & Delbanco, London.
    Gustav Delbanco Collection, London.
    Private collection, UK (by descent from the above).

    Literature
    T. Grochowiak, Ludwig Meidner, Recklinghausen, 1966, no. 102 (illustrated p. 160).

    Acclaimed for his apocalyptic landscapes which eerily foreshadowed the upcoming horror and cataclysmic destruction of the First World War, Ludwig Meidner's portraiture encapsulates the artist's own tortured persona through the gaunt, exaggerated features of his sitters. They are representations of the tormented artist in the Expressionist style and the present work, a portrait of his friend Conrad Felixmüller, is no exception. With influences from artists such as Vincent van Gogh, these dark, tense works are emotionally charged and seek to embody the psychological states of his sitters.

    The legacy of Meidner's early work as an illustrator for Berlin fashion advertisements can be seen in his continued unparalleled ability to caricature and stylise his figures. After meeting Max Beckmann in Berlin who introduced him to the avant-garde art world, Meidner started to experiment increasingly with portraiture from 1912, with many of the leading Expressionist and Dada writers sitting for him. His sixth-floor Berlin studio hosted a number of leading artists, such as George Grosz and Conrad Felixmüller, who did in fact share the studio space with Meidner for a period of time.

    Drawn in 1915, the year before he was drafted into the German army, the present work was completed during some of Ludwig Meidner's finest years of portraiture and some of his hardest financial times. The works from this period are filled with tortured faces, both his own and those of his sitters. They are pictorial representations of struggle, self-torment and alienation. The sharp angles and hard indents into the paper that are used to portray Felixmüller in the present work convey a sense of pain. Flickers of dimly glowing gaslight are represented through the sporadic smudges of his pencil, the structure of his sitter's face almost merging with the sheet's emptiness. Meidner's exaggeration of his subjects' tired and gaunt features undoubtedly stem in part from the artist's own personal anguish and intimately represent the internal apocalypse that he so brilliantly depicted in his harrowing landscapes.
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